Monday, May 23, 2022
image
Music, Rhythm of Love

Rhythm of Love: In conversation with Atso Chasie

6107
By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: Dec 02, 2021 8:42 am
A A A
Atso Chasie
Atso Chasie

Ingenious Atso Chasie is the inventor of the Gei-ü, a creative three-stringed instrument. He stresses on the importance of preserving Naga musical heritage and how his instrument can help make that dream a reality.

Chasie was a finalist at the Social Innovation Lab, Pune Centre on Innovations 2020.

In today’s Rhythm of Love Chasie takes us through his musical journey and his conceptualisation of the Gei-ü.

EASTERN MIRROR: Growing up, was music always a big part of your life? Talk us through your musical journey.

ATSO CHASIE: I have been in music professionally for 15 years now. It is my passion that I chose music. Listening to music has always been part of my schedule (I spend time listening and practicing) when tape-player and radio were a source of childhood joy then. I always find joy and was better in expressing myself performing then. Took my first formal music classes from Tamarez Lotha, where I remember saving coins to pay the fees. And I had the opportunity to attend a short music course at Patkai Christian College-which entirely broadened my scope and horizon. Under the guidance of Nibanuo Swuro and Christine Iralu, I went on to appear the Trinity Guildhall graded exams in Shillong (graded exams were not conducted in Nagaland then) and completed A.T.C.L in classical guitar by 2009 and acquiring B.Mus. Ed by 2014, which eventually supported a research fellowship under Ministry of Culture on Naga Music and Dances.

EASTERN MIRROR: How do you think 2020-21 has been treating you and your music career?

Well 2020 has been a virtual recluse –it has also given me time to re think Art in a different perspective. And I am also trying my hand in music composing – I was fortunate enough to compose a theme song ‘Ode to my Motherland’ under TaFMA- which was debuted at the 75th Independence Day 2021. An instrumental piece called ‘Hoperathi’ (a mountain at Khonoma Village) has also cleared the first round of audition under Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI).

EASTERN MIRROR: Do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown/State? If you think so, what is it that has influenced you the most with your music?

Personally I think we all are influenced with western music in the first place – since foreign music has been available in various forms .On the other hand traditional music has been laying low. Various local songs are also mostly western vibe- generational inspiration- as we’ are then has no knowledge about musical forms and exploration.   Well in this generation one has to explore and acquire knowledge and skills as much as possible to survive– be available when opportunity strikes-the level of talent is enormous and abundant.

EASTERN MIRROR: Tell us about your efforts to preserve our Naga culture and rhythm through your music.

Culture plays a vital role in the Art world – its personal, patriotic culturally-the various Art forms and genre in music, it has its own patriotic feelings, roots or vibe in respect to a particular place or tradition. With various artists evolving and promoting our culture, my priority is to have a developed instrument which can truly represent our culture and Identity. I have also collaborated with two music institutions – Kohima Institute of Music (KIM) and Musicians’ Studio, Kohima- with a vision to introduce cultural importance, its music and traditions.

EASTERN MIRROR: What is the future of this art ‘Gei-ü’ form?

Nagas are art lovers where we are greatly influenced by the media and modern generation of the foreign world neglecting our own musical Art forms. I believe it is extremely important and necessary to educate, evolve, upgrade and uphold our various art forms and practices, which in fact represents our true identity.

Gei-ü is an improvised/refined instrument –which provides a much better sound and tone, octaves, options for more musical notes to execute (unlike the traditional ones which in fact is only percussive in nature). One area is not many opting to explore the Art forms and develop, or promote it. 93% are not even aware of various traditional Naga musical instruments where in Gei-ü fits in perfectly in this modern time. Preserve various cultural and traditional art forms, generating an Economic chain of employment from the rural sector to urban, through production and also provide avenues for teaching and learning.

EASTERN MIRROR: Is the government proactive in promoting and preserving this type of art form? How is the response from the public?

Yes, with the vision of our government- to make Nagaland as the North East hub of music, I personally think artists of Nagaland have been fortunate enough wherein other states or countries does not avail that. Few artists have been able to create a platform however –if one looks into the music scenario – Rattle and Hum society has really uplifted and has served as the forefront in promoting and giving a platform for local artists to perform internationally.

The Gei-ü is a refined version developed from of our old instruments (Nraiibu,Marok Kongki- a bowing string fiddle) with a vision to promote unity and also remind people of the importance of culture.

My Gei-ü Tati Journey started in the year 2014, with the official introduction in 2017.

With a vision to preserve our musical heritage –i.e. to have a common instrument which can blend in with contemporary songs too rather than traditional alone, but also not losing the importance of cultural roots. Likewise, that will attract more musicians to practice our musical identity, which is on the verge of extinction. The support from the public has been overwhelming –with the progress of Gei- ü production- I am truly optimistic and thankful to all the fans.

6107
By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: Dec 02, 2021 8:42:00 am